First, Andrew Gillum’s Republicans foe warned against “monkeying around” by voting for him — and now the trailblazing African-American Florida gubernatorial candidate is getting the “George Soros” dog whistle treatment.
Soros, the Jewish billionaire financier and philanthropist who has long been a bogeyman to everyone from Fox News to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has given the Gillum campaign $1.2 million — almost a quarter of what Gillum’s political action committee had taken in as of Aug. 22.
A number of conservative outlets have already started to refer to Gillum as “Soros-backed.”
Jone’s conspiracy-minded Infowars even used a picture of Soros and not Gillum when announcing the candidate’s Aug. 28 Democratic primary win.
Soros has long donated to pro-democracy causes around the world, which has drawn the ire of international leaders as well. The Hungarian-born donor has been criticized by that country’s strongman president, Victor Orban. Posters displaying Soros’ face were reportedly plastered across the country during the last election, with the ominous phrase, “Don’t let George Soros have the last laugh.”
Republican candidate Rep. Ron DeSantis, whose campaign gained steam and brought in big bucks after President Trump endorsed him in June, has already come under fire for using a possible racial dog whistle when he urged voters not to “monkey this up” by voting for his African-American rival.
DeSantis’s campaign has said it is “absurd” to say the remark had any racial connotations.
“Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses,” spokesman Stephen Lawson said, according to Fox News.
Soros’ donations to Gillum’s PAC, which has raised a little more than $4 million overall, came around the same time that conservative Jewish megadonors and Israel hawks, including Sheldon Adelson, gave over $1.2 million to the super PAC supporting DeSantis, which has raised over $13 million.
Gillum also has the backing of Sen. Bernie Sanders, leading some to see the Florida race as a proxy war between the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party and the Trump wing of the Republican Party.
The race could also have big implications for the 2020 election cycle. Whoever controls the governor’s office will have significant influence in the key swing state over both the presidential election and decennial House redistricting, which in turn could have a big impact on which party controls Congress in 2022.